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Posts Tagged ‘Poland

1939 was a “turning point year”

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German cavalry and motorized units entering Po...
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Writing a review of the latest Hitchens book, Ian Buruma writes that 1939 was a turning point year. Well it is a fact of history that Hitler chose the turn his game of international blackmail in 1936, 1937 and 1938 into all out war in September, 1939.

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What did my father have in mind when he accepted to go to Paris in April 1939 for the Royal Bank of Canada after getting out of Barcelona only months before that in 1938? Did he simply ignore the trend of overt agressiveness being openly shown by Hitler’s Nazi regime? Did he care if that could have any effect on his life and the life of his family?

I’ve read about 1939 in a few history books. All agreed that it was a beautiful spring and summer, especially in Paris. Was that the existential factor that induced him to continue living in Paris even after Hitler’s armies invaded Poland in September 1939?

It’s a fact I remember about my boyhood in Sherbrooke QC during the war years of late 1940 till 1945, that my father rarely missed listening to the BBC news broadcast. Surely he listened to the same news broadcasts in 1939? How could he not feel the menace of attack from the belligerent Nazi armed forces right up to the invasion of Poland and especially as reports from the Eastern Front left little doubt that Hitler’s  intentions couldn’t be peaceful since his takeover and elimination of Polish elites was evident, even at that early stage of WW II?

Or was it that my father subscribed to the ideas of the Canadian Prime Minister of that  time, McKenzie-King, who met with Hitler in 1937 and felt he was a calm and serious political leader, even though Von Neurath, the German Foreign Minister admitted to King that many Jews had been treated “very roughly” in “cleaning things up” in German cities, like Berlin?

In the end me and my family made it out of France at a few minutes after midnight!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/06/28 at 23:32

Previous exchanges in the USSR vs. other Eastern European countries were just the curtain raiser

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Stalin (in background to the right) looks on a...
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It seems that the full blooded words are just beginning today on the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland and Danzig. Check out this link for the latest. And this is how the Guardian characterized verbal exchanges in Poland where official ceremonies were held.

Putin today condemned the Nazi-Soviet pact, but equated Stalin’s actions with those of western leaders at the time. “All attempts to appease the Nazis between 1934 and 1939 through various agreements and pacts were morally unacceptable,” Putin said. “We must admit these mistakes. Our country has done this.”

Adam Rotfeld, a former Polish foreign minister, described the Russian campaign in the run-up to today as “disgusting”. The Polish tabloid press has been screaming with indignation. “Russia! Apologise for your crimes!” said the banner headline in the Super Express. “Apologise for attacking Poland, for the Katyn genocide, for murdering our heroes, for sending Poles to Siberia.”

The Russians are particularly outraged over what they see as western attempts to equate Stalin with Hitler. “Those who falsify history forget the things they gained as the result of the Red Army‘s liberation campaign,” said Lavrov.

But “liberation” ushered in 45 years of repressive Soviet communism in Poland and the Baltic. Adam Michnik, a leading Polish intellectual, told the Russians: “For us, Stalin was a criminal and an aggressor. The creator of the lands of the gulag is entirely comparable with Hitler.”

Of course, a very credible British historian, Richard Overy, who is considered an expert on the Hitler and Stalin, did say very bluntly that the “victory of the Western Allies” over the German war machine, was largely set up by bloody war waged on Russian and Chinese soil.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/09/01 at 21:56

Seventy years ago on Sep 1, 1939

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An Arrow anti-ballistic missile interceptor
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and as day broke on  the Polish-German border the armed forces of Germany invaded the sovereign territory of Poland in a full blooded invasion. On Sep 3, 1939 the British and French governments declared war on Germany after the latter failed to obey an ultimatum to stop its military operations in Poland and return to its own territory.

CBC Radio made this news announcement then:

Germany invades Poland

Broadcast Date: Sept. 1, 1939

“Germany has invaded Poland and has bombed many towns. General mobilization has been ordered in Britain and France.” The announcer in this BBC news report from Sept. 1, 1939 may sound calm and composed, but the news he’s delivering is deeply disturbing. With Germany’s attack on Poland, the Second World War has begun.

These actions followed several days after a pact of non-aggression and mutual military and economic support were signed in Moscow under the watchful eyes of Josef Stalin, the Soviet de facto dictator and head of state. The current Prime Minister of Russia, which is the main successor state after the disintegration of the USSR about 20 years ago, is now describing that pact as “immoral” and will be travelling to Poland to discuss several historical aspects of that sad time in Poland, the USSR and Germany.

It seems to be the view of Russia’s government that plans to install an American ABM system in Poland is as dangerous as conditions set in motion by the Hitler-Stalin pact of late August 1939.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/09/01 at 03:31

The debate in Eastern Europe about the main cause of WW2 points to a tweaking of history

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Adolf Hitler
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Panzer IV Ausf.
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One side says that Poland caused the war and guess who that is?

This headline puts it clearly:

The war? Nothing to do with Stalin, says Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev

The other says that Stalin’s deal with Hitler in late August 1939 gave Hitler the military cover he needed to launch his Panzers into the first blitzkrieg action. Now Mr. Medvedev promises a commission and documents to prove his case against Poland. That does sound like Putin is very much in favor of at least tweaking history here.

There is little doubt that the USSR, which was dissolved in the late ’90s and replaced to all intents by the Russian Republic, fought the nasty Nazis and bled Hitler’s armed forces dry and then reconquered the Eastern Front until Berlin was occupied.

But Stalin was playing a many sided game in the late 1930s. When it seemed that the democracies couldn’t cut bait to his satisfaction he certainly seemed to trigger the deal with Hitler which led to the double invasion of Poland in 1939 by the Germans from the West and by USSR forces from the East.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/08/31 at 12:03

And here is the real riposte from the Americans

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War in South Ossetia - The Big Picture - Boston.com.jpg

They couldn’t and can’t do much more than say and write and bunch of words about Georgia’s dire straits. But here is there recent riposte to Russia’s aggressive actions in Georgia and harsh words about its neighbour states and their connection with NATO.

Amid rising tensions with Russia over the situation in Georgia, Rice also said Thursday she would travel to Poland soon, possibly next week, to sign a missile defense agreement that Moscow vehemently opposes.

U.S. and Polish negotiators reached a deal on Thursday to deploy American interceptors in Poland as part of a European missile shield the United States plans. Under another agreement, a radar tracking station will be located in the Czech Republic.

Russia fiercely objects to the system and the agreement with Poland is bound to infuriate the Kremlin.

Rice was all smiles as she talked about it on Thursday. “I look forward to going to Poland to sign that agreement soon,” she said. “It’s important for the peace and security of the region, it’s important for peace and security internationally.”

Per Time Magazine

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/08/15 at 09:59